The Status Of Cryptocurrency in Asia

Bountie/21 May 2018

Asia is one of the fastest growing regions in the world and is the place to watch in the coming years. The development of cryptocurrency has been growing fast and varied across the major Asian countries.

We’ve listed down below on how different regulations are in various countries.

China

China has regulated this space very strictly. Initial coin offerings (ICOs) are banned, as are cryptocurrency exchanges and Bitcoin mining. Websites and advertisements related to ICOs or cryptocurrency are all banned or blocked. Clearly, China is not the place to be for cryptocurrency.

The Chinese government’s actions have resulted in the phenomenon of arbitrage, where overseas Chinese citizens trade cryptocurrency in other countries and resell them for higher back at home. But there is evidence to show that China is clamping down on this. It is actively monitoring overseas ICOs, and those who take part in this might be banned from doing business in China.

Japan

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Japan is incredibly welcoming of cryptocurrency, which is considered legal tender. Yamada Denki, a consumer electronics retail chain, is one of the 10,000 businesses that accept Bitcoin payment at its stores.

There is even a J-Pop group known as the Virtual Currency Girls. They accept salaries and payment only in Bitcoin, and their debut single, “The Moon, Cryptocurrency, And Me,” contains the lyric: “Be careful about your password! Don’t use the same one!”

Why so? Cryptocurrency is a possible niche that could become Japan’s competitive advantage, as Tokyo’s status as a financial hub is threatened by the likes of Seoul and Singapore. The founder of Bitcoin, rumoured to be Satoshi Nakamoto, is possibly Japanese as well, and the world’s first cryptocurrency exchange, Mt. Gox, was also formed in Japan.

Japan has increased regulation of the industry, but it is understandable. It is currently targeting altcoins such as Zcash, Monero and Dash, that are not easy to track and used for money laundering and/or criminal purposes.

Korea

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South Korea was initially very welcome to cryptocurrencies, but its regulations have become increasingly stricter. Foreigners, minors, and government officials are banned from trading cryptocurrency. There were rumours that there would be a ban on trading cryptocurrency, though the government later said that it would not be the case for the time being.

India

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The situation in India is a little complicated – the government loves blockchain, but absolutely hates cryptocurrency. For example, in the state of Andhra Pradesh, the government is using blockchain for the land registry to reduce the chance of fraud or errors, while reducing administrative cost and hassle.

At the same time, the Reserve Bank of India has issued a diktat for cryptocurrency exchanges to close their accounts with lenders. As Forbes puts it, “India’s banks and lenders will no longer be able to transact or facilitate transactions with companies or individuals that trade in cryptocurrencies.”

It is unclear how the situation will play out in the coming months, as cryptocurrency exchanges are challenging the RBI’s decision in the Supreme Court. But it’s safe to say that this has definitely weakened India’s ability to be at the forefront of blockchain and cryptocurrency, which are inextricably linked.

Southeast Asia

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Singapore is the most popular place in Asia to hold an Initial Coin Offering. It is the 3rd largest ICO hub in the world, and $3.3 billion was raised here in 2017 among 200 ICOs.

Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam believes “there is no strong case to ban cryptocurrency trading” as it “does not pose risks to the safety and integrity of our financial system”. The Monetary Authority of Singapore is actively pursuing blockchain through “Project Ubin”, which aims to facilitate cross-border payments

Thailand has a more cautious approach towards cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency and digital tokens are considered to be digital assets, subject to Security Exchange Commission (SEC) regulation. This was done to prevent money laundering, tax avoidance and crime. Crypto profits would also be taxed at 15%.

Most of the other countries do not view cryptocurrency favourably. Indonesia, for example, warns all parties not to sell, buy or trade virtual currency. According to the Currency Act, “financial transactions conducted within the territory of the Republic of Indonesia, has to be fulfilled with Rupiah”

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